Tell me about yourself!

I’m a 37 year old professional Christian woman.  I know, don’t look like I’m yet out of my 20s.  I work for a giant retailer, but would like to one day own my own line of clothes.  I’ve worked in the fashion industry for over 12 years, and always willing to share my knowledge with others, particularly to the younger generation. I am very down to earth, relaxed, laid-back, and so not into drama.  I’m a creative individual with a sense and an eye for color and style.  
Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
I was a Big Chopper.  I’ve done the Big Chop twice.  Back in 2002 then again 2011. This time I’ve kept the faith and stayed off the “creamy crack”.  The first time I chopped off my hair, I got a texturizer and color put in at the same time.  It was very nice. I got a lot of compliments, and I felt very comfortable with my look.  Throughout my life, I’ve often cut my hair very short. I never let the length of my hair define who I really am.  After I left the hair salon where I worked, I couldn’t maintain my hair. Since there was next to no products that cater to natural hair at the time I gave up and went back to relaxing when I couldn’t get a comb through my giant afro.  
Had you always embraced your texture? 
Yes and no.  When my hair was relaxed, no matter if it was damaged from color or the relaxer, I was blessed with thick hair.  So, you couldn’t see the damage. I styled and took care of my hair where it looked like I constantly went to the beauty salon.  Others made me feel terrible when it was “that time” (you can see the kitchen, sink, table…you know what I mean) for a relaxer and it was very noticeable when I had the back of my hair tapered whenever I did the “Halle Berry” look, but didn’t have the Halle Berry hair texture in the back.

How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?
Since I changed my hair so much they weren’t too surprise that I went in this direction.  The first time I was living in New York and the whole movement of both the big chop and clean shave heads was sweeping the U.S for black women, to show that your hair didn’t define your worth or true beauty.  So in NY there were all different styles of natural hair.  My family lived over 500 miles away, when they saw me they just asked how did I take care of it. By the second time I did it my mom had started wearing dread locks, aunt and one of my sisters did the big chop.  So, I was not alone on my natural hair journey.  
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.) 
My hair is somewhat coarse, thick.  I have different textures throughout my head.  I have to use a lot of products to get my hair to stretch and/or lay down, also to get some type of curl definition.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair?  
I haven’t done anything really all that crazy with my hair.  But at one point I did go to an African hair braider in my town and have her to do my twist without extensions.  She ended up using a ton of gel to twist my hair.  My hair at that time wasn’t long as it is now.  About time she got finished and I took a look in the mirror, I thought the way it came out it looked like a guy that just got out of penitentiary or a thug.  Least to say it took like half a bottle of shampoo to get all that gel out of my hair.
What’s your biggest hair related regret?  
Doing my own texturizer.  It came out cute as the texturizer grew out but then start noticing the damage and breakage.  That’s how I found out that a texturize still has chemicals the same as a relaxer, and can do as much damage as a relaxer.  I had to practically start over.  I cut off half my hair, all the straight hair, after almost 1 ½ of chemical-free.
What’s your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
I wash my hair twice a month.  Unless I have too much product in my hair and it weighs it down then I’ll wash at least 3x a month.  I’ll do a co-wash for my second wash.  After every wash I’ll do a deep condition and put in at least two leave in conditioners.  I let my hair air dry.  Right now I’m shampooing with a peppermint shampoo for natural hair called Eden Peppermint Tee Tree.  I condition my hair with the conditioner from that line as well.  Also added Pantene deep conditioner (I leave this in for 20 minutes if I use a dryer; 30 minutes without a dryer).  My last conditioner is Tresemme Naturals.  The leave-ins I use are a variety of products: As I am, Miss Jessie’s Leave in Condish, Taajih Waadi’s Leave-in Detangeler (I love).  For styling, I use Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Smoothie, Cantu Hair pomade when my hair feels dry, Qhemet Biologics Amla and Olive Heavy Cream when my hair feels SUPER DRY (love this product as well). When I need my hair to lay flat I’ll use Purple Rain styling gel.

What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
My favorite is a high afro ponytail, or any up do.  I’m pretty lazy when in the morning when it comes to trying to style my hair.  I’ve twisted my hair a couple of times but after it locks up on me so I don’t do this style that often.  People like my hair free, but this takes work to get it to look right, especially since different parts of my head is made up of different textures.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
I put it into 2 afro puffs and then wrap it with a satin scarf.
How do you maintain healthy length?
I’m taking vitamins that contain tons of Biotin.  Drinking a lot of water.  I’m trying to get into eating healthier meals.  I’m still working on that.
What’s the best thing about being natural?  
I feel liberated from the constant need of straightening my hair with something that burns and damages my hair.   The freedom to scratch my scalp without worrying about the repercussions is exhilarating. It so addictive, relaxing your hair, that even though you know you are basically burning your hair off your scalp you just feel the need that having straight, silky hair make you look more attractive.  I’ve come to the realization that to really show people that I truly love what God has blessed me with, then I shouldn’t alter it to what society dictates as beautiful.  Therefore you have to re-wire your mind to accept that there’s true beauty in being “naturally” you.